The kitchen is where you prepare the nutrition for yourself and your family. It’s also the place where sicknesses are born if you’re not vigilant about practicing hygiene. Kitchen hygiene is about much more than simply making sure your granite counter tops are sparkling. Check out these frequently overlooked sources of germs and bacteria, and how to stay healthy with clean kitchen habits.
Rinse Between Cutting
When cutting fruits and vegetables, rinse your knife between cuts. In a recent episode of Dr. Oz, the doctor demonstrated how bacteria from the surface of fruits such as cantaloupe gets introduced to the slices that your family eats when your knife moves from the outer edges to the inner edges. This is especially important to remember when cutting foods that are eaten raw. A cantaloupe listeria warning was recently released, but even if no warnings are present, rinse between cutting to reduce the chances of bacteria spreading.
Wipe Chicken Before Cooking
Rinsing chicken before cooking is commonly considered a good way to get rid of surface bacteria. But in recent studies, it was shown that rinsing raw chicken actually spreads bacteria around. The running water hits the surface of the raw poultry and bounces onto faucets, handles, and countertops, increasing the likelihood that bacteria will spread and sicken family members. Instead, wipe raw chicken with paper towels, then discard. This will remove surface bacteria without spreading it around the kitchen.
Designate Cutting Boards
Cutting boards should be used exclusively for cutting certain foods. Because cutting boards are porous, they can hold onto bacteria longer than you might expect. Wooden cutting boards are fine for fruits and vegetables. Plastic or ceramic cutting boards can be designated for poultry and meat. But don’t use the same plastic cutting board for your steak as you do for your chicken, pork or fish. Cross contamination between meats and produce can lead to bacterial illness.
These clean kitchen habits will enable you to provide healthy, nutritious meals for you and your family without exposing them to unexpected causes of infection and serious illness.